Offences relating to marriage (Indian Penal Code) – Chapter -20

Offences relating to marriage


( CrPC 198)

Section 493 to 498 deals with the offences relating to marriage

  • Mock Marriage ( Section 493 & 496)
  • Bigamy (494 & 495)
  • Adultery (497)
  • Criminal elopement ( 498)

Section – 493. Cohabitation caused by a man deceitfully inducing a belief of lawful marriage.

Whenever  any  man  deceitfully induces any woman (who is not lawfully married to him) a belief of  lawfully marriage to him and cohabit or have sexual intercourse with her in that belief,

shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may be up to ten years and fine.( 10 yrs. + fine)

Section – 496. Marriage ceremony fraudulently gone through without lawful marriage.

Whoever dishonestly or fraudulently goes through the marriage ceremony knowing that he  is not thereby lawfully married,

 shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years, and fine. (7 yrs. + Fine)

Difference between Section 493 & 496

  1. Under Section 493 A man deceitfully induces any woman and cohabit whereas under section 496 no deception, cohabitation but dishonest or fraudulent abuse of the marriage ceremony
  2. Under section 496 the offence can be committed by a man or woman or both whereas under Section 493 the offence can be committed only by a man.

Section – 494. Marrying again during lifetime of husband or wife (Bigamy)

Whenever any person  marries again during the life time of husband or wife then such marriage shall be void  and punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years, and fine.( 7 yrs. + Fine)

But there are two exceptions of this rule If

  • Court has declared first marriag void and
  • Continual absence of one of the parties for seven years, The absent spouse not having been heard by the other party as being alive within that time and the party marrying should inform the person with whom he or she marries of the above fact.

According to Sec. 198 CrPC, 1973 no court shall take cognizance of an offence punishable under chapter 20 of the IPC except a complaint is done by some person aggrieved by the offence.

Section – 495. Same offence with concealment of former marriage from person with whom subsequent marriage is contracted.(Bigamy)

Whoever commits the offence of bigamy  defined 494 section concealing from the person with whom the subsequent marriage is contracted about the fact of the former marriage  shall be punished with imprisonment  for a term which may extend to ten years and fine.( 10 yrs. + Fine)

Section – 497.  Adultery.

Whenever any person knows or has reason to believe that any woman is wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man has sexual intercourse with her consent which is not amounting to the offence of rape, is guilty of the offence of adultery and  shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both. ( 5 yrs./fine/both)

 In such case the wife shall not be punishable as an abettor.

  • Not apply on unmarried, widow and divorced.
  • Only husband can sue not wife.
  • Punishment only for male not for female.

Case Joseph Shine v. UOI, AIR 2018 SC 4898

A Constitution bench of the Supreme Court decriminalised adultery and held sec. 497 of the IPC unconstitutional as violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the constitution.

Section – 498. Enticing or taking away or detaining with criminal intent a married woman (Criminal elopement)

Whoever takes or entices away any woman knowing or having reason to believe to be the wife of any other man, from that man, or any person having the care of her on behalf of that man, with intention of having illicit intercourse or conceals or detains such woman,

shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.  (2 years/ fine /both)

Offences relating to marriage


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